Outdoor gigs - do you do anything different with your kit?

ottog1979

Senior Member
You're outside. Mic everything. Every drum gets a mic, hi-hat mic, and an overhead. People always think the drums are inherently loud, but once you get outside, there will be no way to project above everybody else. Even if you play really hard, the drums will sound like they're behind something once you're outside. Even when I played outside with my Bonham set-up, I still mic'd up. Being un-mic'd outside will make you over compensate and you'll be playing too heavy all the time. It'll take all the musicality out of your performance.
THIS!!! I play outside maybe 1/3 of my gigs. Up until now, I only have a mic for my kick drum. This works fine in most bar and small venue gigs, but even with the bass drum mic I find that I'm completely beat at the end of a 3-hour outside gig. I play hard just to keep up in the mix and am exhausted after. So, just last month I finally got around to buying a close mic set up and sub mixer for all my drums. I'm excited for the first time I get to use it and not have to beat the crap out of my kit just to be heard.

Adjustments for winery overall volume level, of course
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
THIS!!! I play outside maybe 1/3 of my gigs. Up until now, I only have a mic for my kick drum. This works fine in most bar and small venue gigs, but even with the bass drum mic I find that I'm completely beat at the end of a 3-hour outside gig. I play hard just to keep up in the mix and am exhausted after. So, just last month I finally got around to buying a close mic set up and sub mixer for all my drums. I'm excited for the first time I get to use it and not have to beat the crap out of my kit just to be heard.

Adjustments for winery overall volume level, of course
Yeah, I hear that a lot that “we’re not playing that loud, so I don’t have to kill everybody, we’re just background music” - and while this is true, we’re not talking about blasting over a concert crowd. We call it sound “reinforcement” for a reason. Think of your home theater system: if you take away the sub, all the bottom end disappears, but it’s not necessarily killing you with loudness when it’s there.
 

basset52

Senior Member
I live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia that is semi desert and gets very hot and dry 90+F. I’ve done outdoor gigs at wineries as we have 150 in a 50 mile area. On hot afternoons the advice to high tune
is good as heat especially from Sunshine can really effect skins. And, as someone else pointed out, unless you have some type of backing behind you your drums tend to get lost. If you have a system to mike your kick hopefully there are extra channels to let you do the same with the rest of the kit. I’ve simply used a basic astatic mike sitting on a low bass mike stand and placed it right under my snare and that also picks up kick batter head so I dispensed with the regular bass mike.and it worked well. And as for playing on grass.. don’t ! If you can take a sheet of 1/2 in /12.5 mm plywood big enough to go under your hat and kick pedal because unless the lawn is a golf Tee Box you can bet that it’s uneven. Nothing worse than an unstable hat or kick pedal. Luckily Wineries here all have some sort of stage or solid surface for bands.
P.S. sounds like anything but a drummer booking a “grass gig”
Tell your bass man you want him to play hanging upside down from a tree ! 😂😂😂
Tie me Kangaroo down Sport !
I did wonder about bringing a sheet of something like ply. When the bass player said its under a tree i though Oh Oh, doesn't sound too flat!
Don't worry about micing everything, projecting, or "cutting through" the amps. They are winery gigs, not coliseums or outdoor stadiums. It's not a concert. You're there as background music, where conversation should be able to take place while you play. As an audience member there is nothing worse than having to yell to the person next to you while you're trying to enjoying a glass of wine and get to know people. Tune a bit higher, as CM Jones said, and do a proper soundcheck. As others said, make sure you're going to be on a solid, level surface or bring one. Then just enjoy the gig.
Yes, I think we need to be aware that people are there to eat and drink, not dance. I have suggested to the other guys that we need to adjust our sets to our " softer" songs. Volume , as you said needs to be adjusted properly at sound check. I will be heading to the hardware store for some plywood and a piano hinge as per suggestions here !
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Don’t subject your gear to sudden changes in heat or humidity. Don’t take the kit out of an air conditioned room
If you use a 3-legged hi hat stand it might wobble if the ground ain’t flat.
If you’re not under a tent or awning, you’re gonna cook. Take sunscreen.
 

Sonorfan

Well-known member
Don’t subject your gear to sudden changes in heat or humidity. Don’t take the kit out of an air conditioned room
If you use a 3-legged hi hat stand it might wobble if the ground ain’t flat.
If you’re not under a tent or awning, you’re gonna cook. Take sunscreen.
I have a back up plan for extra hot days. It’s called my Pearl Traveller kit. All metal “Frame type” so no wood to overheat. Notice in picture that it has
a 10 and 14 in Tom. Actually the initial kit came with the 10in as a Tom or snare. When they brought out the 14 inch as a straight tom i drilled a couple of holes in it’s frame and moved snares over. So for very tight venues or if I think weather will be an issue ie:
heat or rain, I take the Traveller and sometimes I take along a regular snare but some times use the 14in. I do usually mike the 18in kick but the other two broadcast ok And, everything fits in one carry bag that came with the kit.
 

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We are playing at a couple of wineries - outside on the grass , under a tree I believe . The bass player booked it and I haven't seen the venue. We play classic rock. Here in Adelaide South Australia in February the temperature could be anything from 75 degrees to 105 degrees. The venue is in the hills. It would be unlikely to be cold, but it could get cool.
Love Adelaide. Should never have lost the Grand Prix! Much Better than Melbourne!
 

Chris Whitten

Active member
Love Adelaide!
Gosh, micing everything just sounds like a complete nightmare, unless you have someone experienced with PA.
What bands need to do is play to the volume of the quietest instrument. If the drums can't be heard, the guitars and keyboards need to TURN DOWN. Simple as.
Playing outside you don't need to muffle drums much. Your sound will disappear into the air.
It's perfectly possible tom play classic rock with acoustic drums unamplified, just the other band members need to understand if they can't hear you, they are playing too loud.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Temperature makes a difference, If I were playing outdoors I would wear thermal undies and go for a full set of waterproofs. Interesting to see if my stainless snare steel rusts up and goes all A & F on me.


EF242D62-2E8C-4EB6-B14A-BB4722F6EC76.jpeg
 

basset52

Senior Member
Love Adelaide!
Gosh, micing everything just sounds like a complete nightmare, unless you have someone experienced with PA.
What bands need to do is play to the volume of the quietest instrument. If the drums can't be heard, the guitars and keyboards need to TURN DOWN. Simple as.
Playing outside you don't need to muffle drums much. Your sound will disappear into the air.
It's perfectly possible tom play classic rock with acoustic drums unamplified, just the other band members need to understand if they can't hear you, they are playing too loud.
Looking at all the comments here , I will tune up and no muffling. Our mixer bloke is OK but not that experienced IMV - but I'm the last one to judge cos I know bugger all about it. Bit of a fan of your country too. My wifes parents came from Leeds, so we've been back a number of times to catch up with relatives. A lot of beautiful country.
 

basset52

Senior Member
Temperature makes a difference, If I were playing outdoors I would wear thermal undies and go for a full set of waterproofs. Interesting to see if my stainless snare steel rusts up and goes all A & F on me.


View attachment 99969
Probably a bit different here in Adelaide SA , thermals not required - I will be pleased if its not 100+ degrees. February is our hottest month !
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Our band has a couple of outdoor gigs coming up. I've never played outside so I'm curious as to how others approach it in relation to tuning snare, toms, bass drum. Does the temperature matter as to the approach to your tuning ie hot/cold ? We only mic the bass drum.
Bring a tarp.... Even a cheap plastic painters drop cloth....... unless it absolutely never rains where you live. Use it for shade during setup and to hide your kit from gremlins (people who think it's OK to touch other people's shit before the show.)

Bring a towel. Bring some Deet. Double bag your...... inspiration.
 
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